Your fans miss you onscreen. But you're back on TV now, yes?
Last spring I did Wit on Broadway, which was a wonderful experience. Then I had the summer off, having fun with my kids and working in my garden. It was a rejuvenating summer. I also worked on the TV miniseries called World Without End that’s now on the ReelzChannel. I play a super-bad villain named Petranilla. She kills a lot of people, including her own family members!
We haven’t seen you as a villain before. What was it like?
She was so much fun to play. She’s a real piece of work; she appears sweet, and you don’t catch on she’s evil until she starts knocking people off.
Yes, you could take that as a clue.
Of all the roles you’ve played, which have been your favorites?
Miranda [from Sex and the City] is certainly right up there. Vivian Bearing in Wit also holds a special place in my heart. She was funny and caustic, and as an English professor, she would speak about complicated literature while battling ovarian cancer. It was amazing to show so many colors of a person. We all have a lot inside us, and with certain characters you only get to play a couple of notes. But with Vivian, it was like an entire symphony.
You recently filmed a PSA for Rosacea Facts. How long have you had this vascular condition?
I had acne as a teen, so when I started getting flare-ups in my 30s, I assumed the acne had returned. I used antibacterial washes, scrubs and astringents, but it didn’t get better. When I finally went to a dermatologist, she told me I had rosacea, and what I’d been doing—eating spicy food, taking hot baths, drinking red wine—I shouldn’t have been. Some 16 million people have rosacea, but only 10 percent are diagnosed.
Do you miss spicy food?
I still have it, but not as much. But if I’m at an awards dinner and about to give a speech, I don’t order the spicy Chinese chicken first!
How are your kids similar to you?
My son Charles  looks a lot like me and also has certain traits like me. We like the same foods, and he chews his nails a lot like I do. My daughter is incredibly focused and driven, like me. With the baby, Max , it’s hard to say, but he’s high-energy like me.
What is your family’s parenting philosophy?
Decelerate. We’re always rushing around and doing something, but at some point during the day, we stop everything just to be together. You have to, so your kids know that you’re fully present. I don’t want to have conversations with my kids and all they’re seeing is my back as I’m cooking dinner.
How do you manage family time?
I have a stay-at-home spouse, Christine Marinoni, so that’s an incredible luxury. Being an actor, I might have a time-consuming project but then I’ll be home a few months. I do make sure that, whether it’s months or just moments together, my kids know their mom is listening to them and truly cares about what they have to say.
CYNTHIA'S HOLIDAY SANITY SAVERS
Plan in advance. I like to run around in a last-minute frenzy doing things, but I’ve learned from my wife, Christine, that creating a battle plan makes it all more manageable.
Take it easy. I try to remember that I’m not being graded on how well I pull off my holiday. This time is about having fun with family and friends.
Do the best stuff. Think about what traditions matter most to your family, and what you’d miss if you didn’t get to enjoy them—for us, it’s making holiday cookies.
Take “me time.” I sometimes cook right until people walk in the door. Even if I’m not done, I take 5 to 10 minutes to put on something festive and relax.